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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

thomas huxley defends a scratchy kitten

The English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825 - 1895) was a kind and affectionate father to a degree rare at that time and place. Letters from him to his children survive which are funny and speak to them as equals. That's easily seen in this one to his youngest daughter (Ethel), in which he calls on her support in championing a kitten that ran afoul of some nice drapes:
* * *
I wish you would write seriously to M. She is not behaving well to Oliver. I have seen handsomer kittens, but few more lively and energetically destructive. Just now he scratched away at something that M says cost 13s. 6d. a yard, and reduced more or less of it to combings.
M therefore excludes him from the diningroom, and from all those opportunities of higher education which he would naturally have in my house.
I have argued that it is as immoral to place 13s. 6d. a yardnesses within reach of kittens as to hang bracelets and diamond rings in the front garden. But in vain. Oliver is banished, and the protector (not Oliver) is sat upon. In truth and justice aid your Pa.

-- From The cat: being a record of the endearments and invectives lavished by many writers upon an animal much loved and much abhorred, Agnes Repplier, ed. (New York: Sturgis & Walton, 1912) p, 113.

1 comment:

Everycat said...

What a wonderful and sound defence of the natural needs of a kitten. Thomas was a true advocate for the cat!